ANSWERS POSTED: Gubernatorial Candidate Survey by Defending Utah

UPDATE (6/2/2024): Originally on May 15th, 2024 we sent out a survey asking every Gubernatorial candidate 14 “real” questions.  Candidate responses are published below. We hope that more answers will still come in. We invite you to email the candidates and tell them that these questions are important to you and ask them to answer these questions.

Later this summer, we’ll review all answers that come in, and Defending Utah will give our personal opinion on what we think of the answers given.  But regardless of the answer, just being willing to answer this survey speaks volumes about the candidates.

It’s disappointing how few candidates are willing to answer these questions.

Elections often focus on emotional issues that have nothing to do with the actual constitutional knowledge and compliance that our nation is starving for.

We claim to love the constitution, but we are hypocritically lacking in our own understanding, and this shows in the wrong questions we’re asking candidates.

This is a primary reason candidates don’t have to actually care about the constitution, because when push comes to shove, we care more about the emotionally charged issue of the day, than actual constitutional compliance.

Defending Utah’s hope is that we can all learn to ask the real questions that matter, so that we can change the election culture to focus on what matters.  If we shift towards demanding real constitutional knowledge and compliance, instead of demanding what someone’s going to do about the latest emotional headline, then we’ll move the goalpost for elected officials.

Our constitution will regain the life it needs, when we start speaking to it. We hope the public will encourage all candidates to care about this survey and all issues at the constitutional level.

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(5/2/2024) The following questions were sent to all gubernatorial candidates in Utah.  On this page we report back on how any candidate answers the questions, or if they do not answer them at all.

Responses can be sent via email or submitted here on our contact page.

To: Gubernatorial Candidates as registered with the lt. governor’s office as taken from this website: https://vote.utah.gov/2024-candidate-filings/#State%20Offices

Tommy Williams (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)
Brian Smith King (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)
J Robert Latham (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)
Tom Tomeny (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)
Sylvia Miera Fisk (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)
Scott Robbins (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)
T Carson Jorgensen (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)
Spencer J. Cox (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)
Phil Lyman (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)
Charlie Tautuaa (View Public Candidate Filing Submission)

Dear Utah Gubernatorial candidate,

As an organization that endorses no candidates, we wish to report on how any candidate answers the same questions.

The people of Utah, as representatives of our constitutional framework, are interested in these questions in pursuance of understanding your general knowledge and intent to govern Utah according to the constitutional rule of law.

These questions were gathered from real Utahns, and selected by us as the most common or relevant questions that would help Utahns make an educated decision on what matters most.

Answers are hoped to be posted on various Utah websites and there may possibly also be video reports reading and discussing these answers.

Thank you

Defending Utah
On behalf of all concerned Utahns who love this state and this country and support the rule of law under our constitutional framework.

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General Utah Gubernatorial Candidate questions:
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1. As governor, your constitutional oath gives you the power to enforce the constitution unilaterally within your executive authority if other departments are violating it. Do you understand and accept that the state and federal constitutions are your job description?

2. Can you convince me that you understand the purpose of our constitutions?

3. What would you do if you heard just one citizen of Utah was having their property rights taken without proper due process, and that such action was authorized by legislation?

4. Do you accept the state’s claim to “own all the water” as legitimate or do you accept that all water is owned by whoever has deed to it and lawfully obtained that water from the previous owner?

5. If a law is in conflict with the state constitution, what power do you have to make the effects of the law void?

6. Would you be willing to attend a monthly constitution training course from a well-known doctorate of constitutional studies university teacher as part of your ongoing job training as governor?

7. What will you do about the rampant executive branch abuse of authority of enforcing rules that are not laws, under the color of law?

8. If a local town or an individual chooses to ignore a law, state or federal, because they understand it to violate the constitutions, will you go out of your way to support them?

9. Will you publicly announce that the claims of drought in Utah have been fraudulent and that the great salt lake is not dying, but being used for lithium mining?

10. The Utah constitution’s free market clause is one of the most blatantly ignored sections. Will you take executive action, as authorized by your constitutional oath, to end the use of all public private partnerships in Utah?

11. Will you take action to end the influence of regional governments that are not part of our constitutional framework which act out as if they rule behind-the-scenes, as their actions are often rubber stamped by government authorities?

12. Will you shut down all smart metering in the state, as such widespread surveillance of the people does not come as the result any warrant to gather the vast personal data that is being gathered. And “general warrants” are not constitutional, and was even one of the causes of the American Revolution.

13. Will you end Utah’s support for unconstitutional surveillance by shutting off the water supply to the NSA data center? Such action would arguably be a proper way to nullify federal overreach using the power of your oath of office to defend the citizens of Utah.

14. Will you take unilateral action as authorized by your oath of office to enforce that all Utah law enforcement is accountable if they execute punishment on Utah citizens without due process, such as stealing their property or killing them?


 

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Answers from candidates as of 6/2/2024 (We’ll add any new candidates that still submit answers)
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Tommy Williams  – Has not contacted us or responded to the survey
Brian Smith King  – Has not contacted us or responded to the survey
J Robert Latham – Has not contacted us or responded to the survey
Tom Tomeny – Has not contacted us or responded to the survey
Sylvia Miera Fisk – Has not contacted us or responded to the survey
Scott Robbins – Has not contacted us or responded to the survey
T Carson Jorgensen – Has not contacted us or responded to the survey
Spencer J. Cox – Has not contacted us or responded to the survey
Phil Lyman – Contacted us, but has not responded to the survey
Charlie Tautuaa – Responses provided
Matthew Field (write-in candidate) – Responses provided

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Answers from candidate Charlie Tautuaa
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1. As governor, your constitutional oath gives you the power to enforce the constitution unilaterally within your executive authority if other departments are violating it. Do you understand and accept that the state and federal constitutions are your job description?

It is the duty and obligation of a Governor to abide by the constitution of our State and Federal Government, and to protect its values and cause, against all enemies foreign and domestic. However, it is the obligation of the Governor to prioritize and safeguard at all cost, the constitution and values of his/her STATE above all others, to include the Federal Government if need be. S/He is employed by the State and its people, not by the Federal Government. Yes, I understand wholeheartedly and accept that responsibility. 

2. Can you convince me that you understand the purpose of our constitutions?

The constitution has always been clear on its purpose, the purpose of the constitution does not give the governor and other state or federal officials the power to run the government, but the power to govern the people in a way (with respects to rights) that allows the PEOPLE to run the government.

3. What would you do if you heard just one citizen of Utah was having their property rights taken without proper due process, and that such action was authorized by legislation?

If no crime was committed by the citizen, then that citizen has been wronged and the legislative party who authorized such an act ought to be removed from their position by majority vote of the people and not by the judicial system.

4. Do you accept the state’s claim to “own all the water” as legitimate or do you accept that all water is owned by whoever has deed to it and lawfully obtained that water from the previous owner?

I do not accept the state’s claim. The state did not produce water and therefore does not own any right to charge or take away such rights from others. If a natural water source was found on private property, it belongs to the owner of said property. The purchasement of property, is accompanied by the entitlement to ALL resources found therein or abandoned by previous owners (to include, water, trees, buildings, minerals, nature (river and streams that run through the property), and all natural resources. The jurisdiction of the State, is restricted to state own properties only or water source that has been contained, filtered and produced to general public 

5. If a law is in conflict with the state constitution, what power do you have to make the effects of the law void?

The power of the Governor is limited to the support of his / her constituents in legislative power. If it is beyond a reasonable doubt that a law is in conflict with the constitution of the state, the governor’s loyalty is to the people and is therefore required to stand on the side of the people. If legislation and governor do not agree to void said law, then the voice of the people must be heard, whether to void the law, or remove the legislative body from office that argues otherwise with no logical reason to the purpose of maintaining that law.

6. Would you be willing to attend a monthly constitution training course from a well-known doctorate of constitutional studies university teacher as part of your ongoing job training as governor?

Yes, I would be willing and it should be required. All employment across the state requires ongoing learning and understanding of each job description. Being Governor, is no exception

7. What will you do about the rampant executive branch abuse of authority of enforcing rules that are not laws, under the color of law?

Depending on how long they have been in office, they will be treated like any other employee of this state; an at will employee. They will be warned, they will be cited; and if the behavior continues, they will be terminated from their employment despite the length of term left in their service. 
 
If any law is neither black nor white on whether it is for or against the people, it should and WILL always rule in favor of the people. It will continue to do so, until our legislative parties and lawmakers, establish laws that are not up for personal interpretation by attorneys, Law Enforcement or biased judgement. This will ensure that a judicial sentencing is equal, fair and just for all.

8. If a local town or an individual chooses to ignore a law, state or federal, because they understand it to violate the constitutions, will you go out of your way to support them?

We would need to first investigate and understand why said town or individual feels that their constitutional right is being violated. A governor should not be hasty to side with either party. The claim of the town/individual that a violation of constitutional right is at play, needs to be based on what is widely accepted as the correct interpretation of that constitutional right. The Governor is not only a voice of the people, but a mediator of balance and tranquility within his governance.

9. Will you publicly announce that the claims of drought in Utah have be en fraudulent and that the great salt lake is not dying, but being used for lithium mining?

If after personal investigation into the matter proves the claim to be correct, then yes, I would make a public announcement revealing the truth of it all and correcting what has been wrong or hidden. The duty and obligation of the Governor is to the people first.

10. The Utah constitution’s free market clause is one of the most blatantly ignored sections. Will you take executive action, as authorized by your constitutional oath, to end the use of all public private partnerships in Utah?

Most definitely, without a second thought. It is a conflict of interest for such transactions to be occurring in the first place. The government should not be playing favorite or buddy buddy with the private sectors, it belongs to the citizens of the state. Its role is to remain neutral in the service of its citizens; equally. If any partnership whatsoever is necessary to be between the government and private sector, it is the duty of the governor to make the reason known to the public immediately. If partnership is required, then the government must hold the majority share so long as it is in favor of the people and not the partner nor itself.

11. Will you take action to end the influence of regional governments that are not part of our constitutional framework which act out as if they rule behind-the-scenes, as their actions are often rubber stamped by government authorities?

As previously mentioned, the duty of the Governor is to the citizens of his/her state. It needs to be made clear, written in stone; that all those elected by the people, have an obligation bound by laws, to serve OUR people first and foremost in all things. The responsibility of care that other governments needs; falls on their own people first, then their own government, then our federal government and so forth with our state and its people being the last of its options for support, for influence, for say.

12. Will you shut down all smart metering in the state, as such widespread surveillance of the people does not come as the result any warrant to gather the vast personal data that is being gathered. And “general warrants” are not constitutional, and was even one of the causes of the American Revolution.

The issuer of any warrants that violates constitutional rights and or privacy, must be held to a higher standard and charged at higher cost. This will ensure that warrants are not issued senselessly. The state shall have the right on public properties and individuals the right on private properties. If called for, I WILL shut down any and all intrusive surveillance that the state utilizes to look into vehicles, personal lives or homes; that has no true purpose. However, any data collected about an individual, shall remain confidential unless required for official reasons (to notify, to apprehend, to maintain records and so forth)

13. Will you end Utah’s support for unconstitutional surveillance by shutting off the water supply to the NSA data center? Such action would arguably be a proper way to nullify federal overreach using the power of your oath of office to defend the citizens of Utah.

As mentioned above, while the Governor is obligated to defend the citizens of the State of Utah; he/she should not be hasty in his / her action causing more distress in the future then needs be. My perspective is this, the Federal Government is an aggressive cancerous tumor that requires time, patience and skilled professionals to remove. If we eradicate the tumor quickly, it will cling on to other vital parts of the body and it could cause the state to bleed out or fall to a vegetative state. As a Governor, to protect my citizens, my first step would be to team up with others of the profession (i.e Texas and other states who are feeling the wrongs of the federal government) and together, we will work to remove the tumor one root at a time, controlling any bleeds and making sure that our states remains stable, healthy and unharmed by our act to push back against the Federal Government.

14. Will you take unilateral action as authorized by your oath of office to enforce that all Utah law enforcement is accountable if they execute punishment on Utah citizens without due process, such as stealing their property or killing them?

 Being prior law enforcement myself, I know that accountability needs to be enforced with our officers; at all levels. But there needs to be checks and balances, meaning; officers themselves are not bad people, but are being trained to do bad things under the safety of the law. There are a lot of great officers, but at the same time there is a lot of toxic blood  in police departments that’s been passed down from one generation of law enforcement to another, and we need to remove all that toxic blood, if we want a healthier relationship between law and people. 
 
All actions will be answered with justice, but we must first fix what is broken by having officers be accountable to their own communities first before others. We need to restore the respect that has been lost from our law enforcement profession, most importantly, we need to restore the trust of the people in our officers to SERVE and PROTECT their communities, not CRIMINALIZE and HUNT for people to convict.

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Answers from candidate Matt Field (Write-in):
——————

1. As governor, your constitutional oath gives you the power to enforce the constitution unilaterally within your executive authority if other departments are blatantly violating it. Do you understand and accept that the state and federal constitutions are your job description?

I will defend the constitution as would be my obligation as Governor.  I, along with others, am tired of career bureaucrats taking advantage of the state because most employees and elected officials are just too lazy or too afraid to act.  In my proposal I also outline how I would implement term limits, not only on elected officials, but upon all employees that exercise some level of legislative power (any power to impose fees, restriction, etc).

2. Can you convince me that you understand the purpose of our constitutions?

Generally speaking, the constitution establishes what could be considered the bare minimum of a divine morality that is ensured by God and those rights should be protected by the state while recognizing it isn’t something that is permitted by the state.  The title of my proposal is Morality Over Monarchy wherein I try to define many of these moral principles that should be and should have been defended but have rather been neglected and, perhaps actively rejected.  Evil has descended at an incredible rate in an attempt to stop free agency and impose a social reprimand to those who attempt to step outside their arbitrary rules.  I don’t know if I can convince you entirely here but a review of my proposal as mentioned should make clear my view and understanding.

3. What would you do if you heard just one citizen of Utah was having their property rights taken, and that such action was authorized by legislation?

I would stand with that citizen to prevent the overreach and obvious abuse of power and place those legislators under investigation…most need to be under investigation anyway.

4. Do you accept the state’s claim to “own all the water” as legitimate or do you accept that all water is owned by whoever has deed to it and lawfully obtained that water from the previous owner?

Just because the state says it so doesn’t mean it be so!  Much like all the other natural resources, our so-called “conservative state”, the state has taken a very monarch approach to serve their interests.  The water, like land, belongs to those who have purchased it. 

5. If a law is in conflict with the state constitution, what power do you have to make the effects of the law void?

Depending on the type of law, I would instruct the enforcers not to enforce and disregard the law.  If they decide to ignore me then I’ll make it clear that state funding will be in jeopardy.  I would also work to rectify it textually, in that, we would bring a lawsuit to overturn it where needed. 

6. Would you be willing to attend a monthly constitution training course from a well-known doctorate of constitutional studies university teacher as part of your ongoing job training as governor?

Sure, we can all improve our understanding…it would probably be better to learn from a practicing constitutional attorney rather than a bookworm though. 

7. What will you do about the rampant executive branch abuse of authority of enforcing rules that are not laws, under the color of law?

I address this thoroughly in my proposal Morality Over Monarchy, executive orders are an act of a monarch.  Executive orders are decrees that allot far too much power to the executive branch.  This process needs to be massively overhauled.  Are there rare occasions that executive orders should be used?  Yes but only during true emergencies and it should only last for a few days while the legislators are assembled to determine the best course of action and how to allocate funds.  These “emergencies”  also need to be defined in excruciating detail to avoid future abuse.

8. If a local town or an individual chooses to ignore a law, state or federal, because they understand it to violate the constitutions, will you go out of your way to support them?

Yes, if it is an actual violation to the constitution then I’ll bring the lawsuit against the town or entity that is conducting the abuse.

9. Will you publicly announce that the claims of drought in Utah have been fraudulent and that the great salt lake is not dying, but being used for lithium mining?

Already have, I address this in my proposal as well.  Isn’t it amazing that all the other lakes in Utah over the last couple of years are at record highs and the great salt lake is dying?!  The state has worked under the falsehood that they own the lake and the resources therein and have overmined it.  I would be interested to know where all that money from lithium is actually going…

10. The Utah constitution’s free market clause is one of the most blatantly ignored sections. Will you take executive action, as authorized by your constitutional oath, to end the use of all public private partnerships in Utah?

Absolutely, I own a couple of small businesses and I haven’t seen any government contracts coming my way.  The government can’t continue to choose winners and losers because they have buddies in certain companies…which, by the way, the law permits some level of benefit from public deals which also needs to be purged.  I address this to some degree in my proposal as well.

11. Will you take action to end the influence of regional governments that are not part of our constitutional framework which act out as if they rule behind-the-scenes, as their actions are often rubber stamped by government authorities?

Utah must focus on Utah…we need to cleanse the inner vessel.  That begins with us no longer accepting federal funds that promote these kinds of action.  We need to wield the 10th amendment to get us back on course and stop accepting money and favors from the federal and other regional government entities. 

12. Will you shut down all smart metering in the state, as such widespread surveillance of the people does not come as the result any warrant to gather the vast personal data that is being gathered. And “general warrants” are not constitutional, and was even one of the causes of the American Revolution.

As with nearly every question you have posed, I address this in my proposal.  We need to ban the tracking of citizens’ data from purely digital standpoint all the way up to the gathering of biometric data.

13. Will you end Utah’s support for unconstitutional surveillance by shutting off the water supply to the NSA data center? Such action would be a proper way to nullify federal overreach using the power of your oath of office to defend the citizens of Utah.

The NSA data center needs to be relocated or destroyed.  They certainly can’t use Utah’s resources to accommodate a federal project that spies on the whole world. 

14. Will you take unilateral action as authorized by your oath of office to enforce that all Utah law enforcement is accountable if they execute punishment on Utah citizens without due process, such as stealing their property or killing them?

100%, again I address many of these items in my proposal.  If someone doesn’t pay their taxes on their property, though I think all taxes should be eliminated in favor of an endowment system, then the city would have to bring a lawsuit…they may not steal their property and auction it off.  The so-called “remedy” isn’t even close to just. 

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13 Responses

    1. All candidates across the USA should be required to answer questions like these before being elected.

  1. Somebody emailed us and asked:
    “What  are  your  views  on  the  US Senate  and  House  candidates?”

    Our answer:
    “They should all answer the exact same questions, but just think of them in the power of the house or senate offices.”

    1. While that sounds relevant because it’s the emotional issue of the day, that’s not a constitutional question and thus you give an example of exactly the concern I wrote about in this article of us asking the wrong questions. If we were to ask this question in a way that is relevant to the constitution, it would be to clarify that the governor would withdraw all influence of government in civil life where this question would even be asked. It’s because we’ve let government run our schools our local sports and run so much of our lives overall, that we find ourselves battling this issue with the state. I might push back on myself a little bit, and concede that in Utah one of the worst things in our state constitution is that we would created a public school system and therefore the question does become more relevant. But this very thing in our state constitution contradicts other parts of the state constitution. This conversation could get very intricate. Then again, the school system is fundamentally unconstitutional, as it is financed so much by the federal government, with federal control, where there absolutely is no constitutional authority to be involved in education. At the end of the day, it is a joke on us that we waste time arguing over people’s opinions on such a trivial question, when the basic principles of republican government, the core issues at the root of our problems, are completely ignored.

    2. There are men sports, women sports and if the competitor does not fall into the one or the other, they are to be in a co-ed sports. Transgender men can not compete in women sports despite all cosmetics, neither are women permitted the same in male sports. All transgender individual fall under co-ed sports and none other.

      Granted, all public facilities and buildings are to remain neutral and protect every individuals rights. Private properties are dependent on the property owners decisions and not the government.

  2. Defending Utah is awesome! They are probably the only organization I’m aware of reaching out to all candidates to give them the opportunity to respond to their questions. It is oddly telling that none of the “major” party candidates have taken the time to respond. Media needs to give equal time to all who are running for office so that everyone is aware of their options but, all but Defending Utah, haven’t lived up to their duty as watch dogs. Rather, they support the power structure rather than what is right. For those reading, please take the time to share these questions and give a shout-out to Defending Utah. Also, please take the time to review my proposal (read or listen) at govmatt.org. Thanks again!

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